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Agriculture is Important to Everyone

National Ag Day is March 19, and I thought it important to offer a few thoughts about the ways agriculture is important to everyone. I believe its importance cannot be overstated. Our governor even proclaimed March 19 as National Ag Day in Indiana.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our rural communities, and this sector is a large employer of Hoosiers and contributes so much to our state, both economically and socially,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, speaking about the proclamation. “Today, we not only celebrate all Hoosiers involved in any capacity, but we thank them also!”

According to USDA Economic Research Service, more than 22 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sector, just over 10 percent of all U.S. employment. On-farm jobs represented about 2.6 million jobs, or a little over one percent of U.S. employment.

Agricultural jobs are not just on-farm jobs. The industry needs scientists, biologists, economists, food safety technicians, grain merchandisers, livestock nutrition specialists, foresters, conservationists, and more.

As a consumer, we can sometimes take for granted the availability, price, safety, quantity, and quality of our food. Even with recent inflation, we have some of the best food available at the best price anywhere in the world.

Consumers should also understand that food doesn’t magically appear in the grocery store. Farmers produced that food through a lot of hard work. Additionally, much of what we use and wear originates from a farm. For example, cotton is produced in southern U.S. farm fields.

Back in January, I wrote about some of the rankings of recent Indiana agricultural production, of which Whitley County is certainly a contributor.

Statewide in 2022 (the most recent statistics available), Indiana ranked as follows on crops among all states: corn for grain, 5th; soybeans, 4th; peppermint, 4th; spearmint, 4th; watermelon, 5th; and pumpkins, 2nd. In livestock, Indiana ranks 5th on all hogs (as of Dec. 1, 2022), and 3rd in all chickens (as of Dec. 1, 2022). We ranked 9th in pig crop, 4th in turkeys raised, and 2nd in total eggs produced.

Indiana farmers received $18.4 billion in cash receipts from marketings in 2022, up 29% from 2021. Marketed crops totaled $12.03 billion (65.5% of the total), while livestock receipts came in at $6.35 billion, for 34.5% of the total.

So, if you think of the food and fiber we depend on, agriculture is important to everyone. And, we should all thank a farmer.

Some of the above information was sourced from USDA statistics from

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